Good, Bad & Ugly: He Shall Be Livan; Mets Beat Nationals

Dave Nichols@@DaveNicholsDSPSenior Analyst IJune 8, 2009

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Livan Hernandez #61 of the New York Mets poses during photo day at Tradition Field on February 23, 2009 in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

"I got behind some people and then left the ball up a little bit and they got a hold of some pitches." - Craig Stammen, June 7, 2009.

THE RESULT: The New York Mets hitters jumped all over Washington Nationals starter Craig Stammen, roughing the pitcher up for five runs in the first inning. Mets starter Livan Hernandez did the rest, shutting the Nats out over seven innings before leaving with a stomach ache.
Three relievers finished up, and the Mets took the rubber match 7-0 before 31,841 at Nationals Park.
Stammen (L, 0-2, 6.45) was brutal in that first inning, giving up three hits, two walks and two wild pitches, both of which allowed runs to score.
The 25-year old rookie, making his fourth career start, settled down well after that, and went five innings, giving up just three more hits and no walks.
But the damage was already done.
As for Hernandez, the veteran right hander easily dispatched Washington's hitters. He gave up four hits and four walks, often pitching around batters he cared not to face. He threw 112 pitches in his seven innings, and when the Nats did put some pressure on, Hernandez managed to find his way out, and got two double-play in support.
THE TAKEAWAY: Manager Manny Acta walked into a little trouble post-game, as he was trying to praise today's opponent.
"He was on today again against us," Acta said. "We have a lot of young hitters, and when he's on, he can just prey on those young guys, just tease them with those pitches just barely off the strike zone..."
The embattled manager set of something of a media firestorm with the comments, referring to his batting order as "young hitters." Today's lineup had five players 29 or older, 24-year-old Ryan Zimmerman, 25-year-old Elijah Dukes and 26-year-old Anderson Hernandez.
There are a lot of things you can call the Nationals hitters, but "young" is not really one of them. If the youngest player in your lineup is the Face of the Franchise (TM), it's not young. In fact, for all the emphasis on youth the organization is feeding the fans, the only particularly young aspect of the team is its starting pitchers...and manager.
This space has unabashedly been a Manny Acta supporter, and will remain so. We've maintained that Acta is not the problem, not even close on a long laundry list of problems.
We hope this was just an unfortunate slip of the tongue while trying to praise the job his opponent did today.
THE GOOD: Adam Dunn. 2-for-3 with a walk. He left no runners on because there were no runners on ahead of him.
THE BAD: Elijah Dukes. Hitting behind Dunn, he went 0-for-4 and left five runners on. Also, he made two more poor throws from center field, allowing runners to take extra bases.
THE UGLY: Austin Kearns. 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. He looked completely lost out there, and one has to wonder how much longer he's going to be trotted out there. He's hitting .214 for the season.
He hit his last home run on April 26, and since that date has hit .200/.326/.263 with four RBIs in 30 games. He does not have an RBI since May 7.
NEXT GAME: Off on Monday. Tuesday the Nats open a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds. Jordan Zimmermann (2-3, 5.71) hosts Johnny Cueto (5-3, 2.43).
NOTES: LHP Scott Olsen, on the DL with shoulder tendinitis, makes a rehab start for Class-A Potomac on Tuesday.

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